The truth about porcupine quills

Porcupine quills help protect porcupines from predators. These extremely sharp quills are even sharper than hypodermic needles, yet there are some common misconceptions about them that this video explains.

There's a myth that porcupines can shoot their quills out. In actuality, their quills only come out when they are pushed inward towards the porcupine's body. They will then release whatever is touching the porcupine. 

The tips of the quills are covered in microscopic, backwards facing barbs. These barbs fan out when you try to remove them, making them hard to pull out. Getting stuck with a quill doesn't often lead to an infection, though, as their grease can act as a natural antibiotic.

Nonetheless, getting stuck with a quill seems like a super unpleasant experience. No thanks. 

See also: Porcupine really into corn on the cob